And just what is this lingering mystery? No one knows who owns the land below the water! Or perhaps it could be more accurately said that no one will admit to owning the land. There are legal records to show that the dam was expropriated from the private owners by the Region of Haldimand Norfolk. Now that legal entity no longer exists. But the land below the lake is another mystery as well.
SNC Lavalin Water Sampling Report: At the request of Norfolk County Administration, SNC Lavalin was engaged to undertake an environmental assessment of the soil in the Lake. They submitted their report with a request to carry out expanded sampling. The last report submitted in April 2010 outlines the results of their assessment. In a 140 page report attached to this posting by hyperlink, SNC Lavalin detail all the activities taken on, the outcomes of the sampling and the issues related to removing certain pockets of the accumulated sediment from the lake bed where the sediment is contaminated above the acceptable level. This contaminated sediment may need special handling when it is removed and there would be extra costs associated in disposing of toxins that exceed the allowable levels. And so this explains the two years of secrecy about why the dam has not been repaired and why the lake bed has been left as a haven for mosquito larvae and the deceivingly beautiful and damaging fields of purple loose strife! It would seem that there is a safety issue going on whichever way we wish to view things. Our choices are:
Pay the money, fix the lake and enjoy the environmental, recreational and economic benefits of a Lake as we have done for 150 years or leave the Lake and wetlands as they are, a contaminated swamp and a breeding ground for West Nile Virus and destructive weeds.
It does seem odd that anyone could think this lake bed is privately owned . There are no tax records in recent history. In those circumstances when taxes are not paid, the land reverts to the public land. For an interesting read, please click on the following link (remember you will be asked to click twice).
You will note that we have added a talented new photographer to our team. Tim Warris has taken almost daily pictures of Silver Lake and has been sharing them with Face Book friends. He appears to be a dedicated naturalist as well as gifted photographer. In his photo below, he managed to capture in his lens “The Monster in Silver Lake”! Forget Nessie, we have our own aquatic mystery creature. We need to get our Lake back to its former state. In this writer’s opinion, these mystery creatures are our heritage and they deserve better from us.
Tim describes this picture in his own words:
The Silver Lake Monster. Hiding under a fallen tree, this guy is the smaller of the two that have been hanging around the old dock next to the Lion’s Club building.